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Microsoft tweaks Windows 8, blamed for PC slump

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Posted June 27, 2013
In this Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012 file photo, the Microsoft Corp. logo, left, is seen on an exterior wall of a new Microsoft store inside the Prudential Center mall, in Boston. Microsoft will use its annual developers conference to release a preview of Windows 8.1, a free update that promises to address some of the gripes people have with the latest version of the company's flagship operating system. The Build conference, which starts Wednesday, June 26, 2013, in San Francisco, will give Microsoft's partners and other technology developers a chance to try out the new system before it becomes available to the general public later in the year. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

In this Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012 file photo, the Microsoft Corp. logo, left, is seen on an exterior wall of a new Microsoft store inside the Prudential Center mall, in Boston. Microsoft will use its annual developers conference to release a preview of Windows 8.1, a free update that promises to address some of the gripes people have with the latest version of the company’s flagship operating system. The Build conference, which starts Wednesday, June 26, 2013, in San Francisco, will give Microsoft’s partners and other technology developers a chance to try out the new system before it becomes available to the general public later in the year. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

Microsoft is trying to reverse slumping PC sales and quiet growing criticism of its flagship operating system with the release of a revised version of Windows 8.

On Wednesday, Microsoft made a preview version of Windows 8.1 available for download. It includes alterations meant to address consumer dissatisfaction with the operating system. Analysts believe users’ frustration with Windows 8 is partly to blame for the biggest drop in personal computer sales in nearly two decades.

At a conference in San Francisco, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer acknowledged that the company pushed hard to get people to adopt a radical new tile-based “Modern” user interface in Windows 8. Microsoft is now back-pedaling, making it easier to reach and use the older “Desktop” interface.

“Let’s make it easier to start applications the way we’re used to,” Ballmer told the audience of software developers. “What we will show you today is a refined blend of our Desktop experience and our Modern experience.”

Windows 8, released Oct. 26, was Microsoft’s answer to changing customer behavior and the rise of tablet computers. The operating system emphasizes touch controls over the mouse and the keyboard, which had been the main way people have interacted with their personal computers since the 1980s.

Microsoft and PC makers had been looking to Windows 8 to revive sales of personal computers, but some people have been put off by the radical makeover. Research firm IDC said the operating system actually slowed down the market. Although Microsoft says it has sold more than 100 million Windows 8 licenses so far, IDC said worldwide shipments of personal computers fell 14 percent in the first three months of this year, the worst since tracking began in 1994.

Read more at: Phys.org

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